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Thursday 21 September 2017

'Dad was my hero and his last gift was to save my life' - daughter's tribute

Injured Abbie Finn, with her mother Carol, was taken by ambulance to the funeral of her dad Martin at St Matthew’s Church in Ballyfermot
Injured Abbie Finn, with her mother Carol, was taken by ambulance to the funeral of her dad Martin at St Matthew’s Church in Ballyfermot

The seriously injured daughter of a man killed in a road accident has paid tribute to him for the "gift" of saving her life.

Martin Finn (60), of Gurteen Avenue, Ballyfermot, was walking along the Newcastle Road in west Dublin with his daughter Abbie (18) on January 17 when they were struck from behind by an SUV.

The pair had been feeding their horses in a nearby field and were making their way back to Mr Finn's wife, Carol, who was parked nearby when tragedy struck.

Mr Finn managed to push Abbie to one side before the car hit them on the dark road.

Impact

He bore the brunt of the impact and Abbie suffered serious injuries.

Yesterday, she was taken by ambulance to the funeral at St Matthew's Church in Ballyfermot to join her mother, family and friends in bidding farewell to her dad, who was affectionately known Whacker.

At the beginning of the mass, Abbie slowly made her way to the altar at the invitation of Fr Joe McDonald.

Her head was braced by metal rods attached to a collar on her shoulders to prevent damage to her spinal cord.

Abbie thanked the fire crews and paramedics, as well as the doctor, nurses and surgeons at Tallaght and the Mater hospitals who treated her and her dad.

"I'm only here because of them and because of my dad, my hero, whose last gift to me was to save my life," she said.

Abbie also had a special message for the driver involved in the accident.

"We would like you to know we are praying for you and your family. We wish we could ease your pain," she said.

"We do not want my dad's legacy to be your suffering, as that is the last thing he would want.

"My dad was my best friend. We had a special bond like no other.

"I would also like to thank my mother who has always been my rock throughout my whole life."

Abbie also thanked her little son Arthur, who was born on November 1, saying he will support her throughout this time.

There were fond memories of horse lover Mr Finn too and his sense of humour.

Mourners were told of one occasion when he managed to see the funny side after a stallion bolted while he had his hand wrapped with the rope securing it and Mr Finn got dragged through dung and nettles.

"My dad loved horses just as much as I do," said Abbie.

"He left me his legacy of his love for animals which I in turn will pass on to baby Arthur.

"My dad might have been just one man in the world to everyone, but to me he was my world, my best friend, my hero all in one.

"I promise to live a great life full of the fullest potential for him."

On his coffin, a photo of a smiling Mr Finn reminded the congregation of the loving man they would miss.

Football jerseys representing Manchester United and Celtic also adorned the coffin as it was taken to and from the church.

Reflective

Following the mass, Mr Finn's remains were taken in a horse-drawn, glass-sided hearse to Newlands Cross Cemetery for burial.

After his death last week, his family urged pedestrians walking at night to wear bright and reflective clothing and carry torches.

Road safety chiefs echoed that call after Wayne O'Neill (38), was knocked down near his home while walking on the N78 at Clonbrock, Crettyard, Co Laois, near the border with Co Kilkenny on Saturday.

Seven pedestrians have been killed on the roads so far this year.

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